Cool it Reviews
Michael Antman, PopMatters, Febr 21 2008
A Cooler Head Prevails
A humane and practical corrective to an argument that has grown far too overheated, Cool It is a breath of fresh air that needs to be read by everyone who fears for the future of our world.
Fear, it would appear, abhors a vacuum. After a fleeting moment of optimism following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fading of the very real threat of nuclear holocaust, the Western world now has two dreadful new fates to contemplate, hypothetical horrors that have little in common except for the manner in which they have been politicized and hyperbolized.
Tony Gilland, Spiked-online, Jan 11, 2007
In the midst of all this hyped-up consensus and overheated alarmism, the return of the ‘Skeptical Environmentalist' Bjørn Lomborg, with his new book Cool It, provides some very welcome perspective. Lomborg has little doubt that global warming is occurring, that human activities are a factor, and that all of this presents us with problems and challenges. However, he is adamant that there is no need to panic, that attempts to cut greenhouse emissions now are a costly waste of time, and that adaptation for the medium-term future, coupled with investment in research and development (R&D) for the longer term, would make for a more sensible way forward.
Richard N. Cooper, Foreign Affairs, Jan/Feb 2008
The title of this highly readable book has a double meaning: steps should be taken against global warming, but unsupported claims that climate change will lead to global catastrophe and human calamity should be avoided. The book is a plea for a rational discussion of social priorities, persistently invoking cost-benefit comparisons.
Steven F. Hayward, National Review, Oct 27, 2007
Is there really anything new to be said about climate change? Hasn't the issue become the public-policy equivalent of Groundhog Day, with the same arguments playing out in the same way every week?
Perhaps there is. The weary and repetitive character of the climate-change debate is masking a number of fundamental changes now taking place that, 20 or 30 years from now, are likely to be recognized as the turning point on the issue. Despite the relentless media and advocacy-group frenzy, the case for catastrophic global warming is fraying around the edges. The alarmists have found themselves suddenly hoisted by their own petard, as the latest massive report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noticeably reined in its predictions of future doom and gloom (less sea-level rise, lower temperature rise, admissions of serious problems in its climate models, and so forth). Having thumped skeptics about ignoring the IPCC-certified "consensus," the alarmists are now criticizing the IPCC for being "too conservative." Increasingly it appears that the problem of climate change is likely to be more modest and manageable than the heated rhetoric would have you imagine, just as the apocalyptic 1960s predictions of the "population bomb" turned out to be wrong.
Clive Crook, Financial Times, Oct 15, 2007
An inconvenient Danish pasting
One man who was not rooting for Al Gore to win the Nobel Prize was Bjorn Lomborg. The smiling Dane is the anti-Gore. Unimpressed with An Inconvenient Truth , his new book challenges many of that film's alarming statements about global warming. Mr Gore and his admirers are paying no attention, needless to say, and that is a pity.
Bill McKibben, New York Review, Oct 11, 2007
In his earlier book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, Bjørn Lomborg, a Danish statistician, attacked the scientific establishment on a number of topics, including global warming, and concluded that things were generally improving here on earth. The book was warmly received on the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal, but most scientists were unimpressed. Scientific American published scathing rebuttals from leading researchers, and its editor concluded in a note to readers that "in its purpose of describing the real state of the world, the book is a failure."
Charles Clover, Telegraph, Oct 5, 2007
Save polar bears by not shooting them
Polar bears would stand a greater chance of avoiding extinction if people stopped shooting them than if they reduced greenhouse gas emissions, according to a book by a leading environmental sceptic.
Bjorn Lomborg, the Danish professor who achieved international fame with his previous book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, examines and rejects claims by environmentalists and the former president Al Gore that polar bears are drowning because the sea ice they hunt on is melting.
Also Worth a Read ...by Portfolio Staff October 2007 Issue
Lomborg, a Danish business professor, challenges Al Gore and his followers to calm down. Yes, the world is warming, and yes, humans are to blame. But in all the panic, we've miscalculated the risk and botched the remedies...
Steve Ruskin, Rocky Mountain News, Sept 14, 2007
Book in a nutshell: Yes, global warming is occurring. But cool your jets, folks: It's not as bad as the media and Al Gore would have you believe, and we have more immediate problems to deal with. This is the thrust of Cool It, a new book by Lomborg, a Denmark professor and economist and one of Time magazine's 2004 "100 most influential people in the world."
He makes some surprising claims: Global polar bear populations are stable, not decreasing; melting ice caps will raise ocean levels only a foot over the next 100 years, not the 20-plus feet predicted by Gore; increasing temperatures may cause more heat deaths, but will also prevent five times as many cold deaths by 2050 - cold comfort, indeed.
Lomborg doesn't deny the planet is heating up: "Global warming is happening; the consequences are mostly negative," he writes. "It will cause more heat deaths, an increase in sea level, possibly more intense hurricanes, more flooding, more malaria, starvation and poverty. (But) cutting CO2 - even substantially - will not matter much for the problems on this list. . . we can do relatively little with climate policies and a lot more with social policies."
Cool It encourages perspective: Worldwide temperature increase may be quite modest in the next century, and its effects will be better managed by good social and economic planning rather than expensive carbon-tax measures, writes Lom- borg.
Best tidbit: Carbon-cutting mandates like the Kyoto Protocol are too expensive and relatively ineffective, Lomborg notes. For example, he suggests implementing Kyoto will prevent 140,000 malaria deaths by the end of this century. But putting just one-sixtieth of the cost of Kyoto directly into effective antimalaria policies would prevent 85,000,000 malaria deaths: That's 36,000 directly saved from malaria for every one saved indirectly by Kyoto."
Pros: A thought-provoking alternative to all the doom and gloom about global warming.
Cons: At just 166 pages, Cool It is a little too thin to back up all of its arguments. (A longer version is being published, but currently only in the U.K.)
Final word: Lomborg can't win with this one: His critics will dismiss it halfway through, and his supporters will wish it were twice as long. But Cool It is just the right length to stir up controversy.'
Kimberley Strassel, Wall Street Journal, Sept 13, 2007
In this world of Republicans and Democrats, meat-eaters and vegetarians, dog lovers and cat lovers, we have a new divide. On one side are global-warming believers. They've heard Al Gore's inconvenient truths and, along with the staff of Time magazine, feel "worried, very worried." Humanity faces no greater threat than a warming Earth, they say, and government must drastically curb carbon-dioxide emissions. On the other side are those who don't think that the Earth is warming; and even if it is, they don't think that man is causing it; and even if man is to blame, it isn't clear that global warming is bad; and even if it is, efforts to fix it will cost too much and may, in the end, do more harm than good.
Standing in the practical middle is Bjorn Lomborg, the free-thinking Dane who, in "The Skeptical Environmentalist" (2001), challenged the belief that the environment is going to pieces. Mr. Lomborg is now back with "Cool It" a book brimming with useful facts and common sense.
Partha Dasgupta, Nature, Sept 12, 2007
Bjorn Lomborg's The Skeptical Environmentalist created a sensation six years ago. The author offered figures to dismiss claims that the ecological-resource base in many parts of the world is deteriorating, and argued that the costs of reducing ecological losses are usually higher than the benefits. Never mind that several of the world's foremost environmental scientists expressed more than mere scepticism towards Lomborg's grasp of their science: prominent publications such as The Economist promoted the book vigorously and wrote sermons on how scientists should practise their craft. People learning of my own work in developing ecological economics would ask, "And have you read Lomborg?" - implying, "Why have you thrown away so much of your working life?"
John Tierney, New York Times, Sept 11, 2007
‘Feel Good' vs. ‘Do Good' on Climate by John Tierney, New York Times
After looking at one too many projections of global-warming disasters - computer graphics of coasts swamped by rising seas, mounting death tolls from heat waves - I was ready for a reality check. Instead of imagining a warmer planet, I traveled to a place that has already felt the heat, accompanied by Bjorn Lomborg, the Danish political scientist and scourge of environmentalist orthodoxy...
Greg Langley, 2theadvocate, Sept 9, 2007
A debate that blows hot and cold: Danish economist says global warming claims fueled by hysteria
Big title, big subject. Add to that "big argument." Perhaps no other issue is as politically divisive as global warming. Scientists and some politicians have been sounding the alarm about how carbon-based gases are building up in the earth's atmosphere, creating a kind of polarizing filter over the whole planet that traps the long wavelengths of sunlight. That energy is absorbed by the air, water and surface of the planet in the form of heat - the greenhouse effect...
Tim Flannery, Washington Post, Sept 9, 2007
Is It Hot in Here?
A statistician argues that global warming isn't worth all the fuss.
Bjorn Lomborg is a Danish statistician and darling of those who believe that markets should not be regulated and that concerns about the environment are overblown. He is articulate, certain in his opinions and well informed on the statistical minutiae of the topics he investigates. Indeed, so compelling and entertaining are the grains of truth that adorn his latest book, Cool It, that you are certain to hear them soon in dinner table conversation. But is this book, as its subtitle proclaims, really an acceptable "guide to global warming"?
Read also Eric Roston's comment on this review
Jonathan H. Adler, National Review Online, Sept 4, 2007
It's Cool in Here
Bjorn Lomborg is back, and his critics will not be happy. In 2001, the Danish statistician published The Skeptical Environmentalist, an optimistic assessment of global environmental trends that provoked intense controversy and debate. His data-driven challenge to the "Litany" of environmental pessimism incited vitriolic attacks from environmentalist doomsayers. Malthusian environmental activists sought to discount his message, accusing Lomborg of "scientific dishonesty" and, in one case, throwing a pie in his face. Such tactics failed to accomplish anything but increase Lomborg's notoriety and boost book sales...
Cool It - Scandinavian translations and reviews
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